The other shoe has finally dropped; now, does it fit for Hill?


Over at ProBasketballTalk Kurt Helin reminded us that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spent All-Star weekend waiting for the other shoe to drop in terms of injuries. Now that it has, with Tony Parker out for 2-4 weeks, will it fit George Hill?

How well Hill fills Parker’s shoes depends largely on how comfortable he feels in his own skin. In short, Popovich does not want Hill to be a point guard, he wants George Hill to be George Hill.

“In his case he was a scorer in college. He wasn’t a point guard, he was more of a two, or two-three, and he just scored,” Popovich said. “When he first came in and we told him he was going to be the backup point his whole mind shifted to being a facilitator completely. We’ve sort of had to get him out of that and remind him what he was capable of doing.”

What George Hill has been capable of doing in his brief NBA career is provide quality defense–more versatile than lock down, but quickly reaching that status–while providing better than average competency in your standard dime a dozen shooting guard skill set on offense.

Once again the San Antonio Spurs will need him to expand that role and provide some quality minutes at the point guard position. While possessing a scorer’s mentality, Hill has not always shown the creative instincts that many point guards inherently possess. But what Hill lacks in artistry, he makes up for in basketball IQ.

A year ago Hill filled in admirably for Parker, prompting many to believe the Spurs should trade their longtime point guard to replace him with two-thirds the production at half the price. The success of the team this season, however, with a healthy Parker at the helm, shows the value skill set can sometimes have over numbers.

And while his numbers mirror those from last season, from points per game down to shot selection, Hill has added a few wrinkles to his off the dribble game. More frequently he has used the in and out dribble to his advantage while mixing in a spin move or two. And though he will never be confused for John Stockton, Hill has done a better job of finding the dive man in pick and roll situations and creating some simple passing lanes rather than merely exploiting existing ones.

Hill still has a long way to go before he can be called an instinctive creator. More likely, using his high basketball intelligence, Hill will increasingly be able to approximate a reasonable facsimile of a point guard’s creativity the way a robot—or Tim Duncan—can mimic human emotion.

With Parker out, Popovich doesn’t want Hill to change his game, just his outlook.

“With Tony, he came in as a scorer also, with a little more experience at the point,” Popovich said. “But at the same time, when you enter this league, you still have to feel comfortable about what you do in relation to other players on the team. It took George a while, it even took Tony a little while, so he wouldn’t just defer to everybody all the time.”

  • jwalt

    Hill’s offense doesn’t worry me at all. But I think he has slipped defensively in the last 20 games or so. His biggest contribution tonight will be to get a handle on Conley, who kind of had his way with George last game.

  • rob

    Hill’s done it before and that’s what could ultimately be the saving grace in this situation. That along with Ginobili’s adaptability and hopefully Neal back soon and Anderson ready to step up his game, the Spurs may not be as “limited” to performing well on offense as feared with Parker out.

    Granted they won’t be as good as with Parker, but more than capable as has been demonstrated before they can succeed with Hill manning the point.

  • ruth bader ginobili

    Looking ahead a bit, it will be interesting to see how the match-ups go in the Miami game. I’d guess that Heat wouldn’t want Wade on Parker, but will be just fine with him on Hill. Could mean that we see a lot of their no PG lineups, and in turn less of our small-but-effective backcourt of Hill/Neal/Manu.

    Here’s hoping Quinn and mimic what Temple did last season.

  • Alix Babaie

    Hey Jesse….I tried to ask Scott this question but I guess he did not read the posts but I hope that you are reading these posts because I wanted to see if you have heard if the Spurs are REALLY going to be in pursuit of Corey Brewer, formerly of the T-Wolves – who is getting a buyout from the Knicks?

    If so, would he be a great help @ the 2 for us, since he is an above average defender and has nice size @ 6’9″?

  • SAJKinBigD

    I think Brewer would be ideal, with Butler a close second. Murphy apparently will take his talents East (most likely South Beach).
    I REALLY would like to see one or both signed here.

  • jwalt

    please, no Rasual Butler. He has been just pathetic for the Clips this year. It would be hard to find a player who has played worse than Butler. Really.

  • rob

    @ SAJKinBigD

    “Murphy apparently will take his talents East (most likely South Beach).”

    Murphy is going to Boston.

    Along with Perkins agreeing to a 35 mil 4 year extension…perhaps that leaves Brewer to deciding between the spurs or Dallas

  • rob

    In other news regarding Brewer, Dallas may be out of the equation as well.

    Of course that’s not to say Cuban wouldn’t mind paying an excessive fine just to land Brewer to keep him from the Spurs even if they do sign Pavlovic.

  • Hobson13

    Well, Murphy is out of the question, but we all knew he was a longshot. In all honesty, I think Brewer would have been my first choice to join the Spurs anyway. I really don’t know why Dallas and OKC are after this kid. Both teams have great options and even backups at the 3 position. The Mavs have both Peja AND Marion at the 3 so how much time will Brewer really see (outside of the Mavs playing tons of small-ball) Also, how the heck is he going to get minutes on the Thunder when they have KD (who averages 40min/game) backed up by Sefolosha and even Harding? Don’t see much PT with the Thunder.

    I really think Hill can step up and do a good job in Tony’s absence. He is young and can play 35+ min/game AND I think we can make up much of Parker’s 17ppg if RJ, Hill, Blair, and Neal step up to the plate. We have the offensive capabilities to take care of our offense. We just need to focus on our defense.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Alix Babaie – I don’t have any inside info, but I’ve seen multiple reports suggesting that the Spurs are hot after Brewer–which works for me. But we should try to avoid playing him at the 2, at least in a traditional offense. He’s much more effective when matched up with small forwards and has more than enough length to handle them. He can certainly guard the 2, but he just doesn’t have the handle or the passing ability to really function as an auxiliary ballhandler. In a way, he’s sort of the defensive equivalent of Kevin Durant, who has very similar dimensions. While both can play the two, they’re just not comfortable out there.

  • SAJKinBigD

    re:Murphy – Wow. The Celtics? They make me sick… Almost as sick as…

    re:Brewer/Mavs: The Mavs’ owner – Mark Cuban. What a putz. Can’t stand him.
    And Mavs fans are starting to get too much like him. Used to be they at least respected our Silver and Black. Stuff I’m reading on the MavsBlog about Parker’s injury – and wishing other injuries on TD. Ugh. Turns my stomach. They don’t know jack about Spurs fans, saying we hope to play the Mavs w/o Dirk. BS! From what I remember, most of us were hoping he’d play so they wouldn’t have this BS excuse of “They built their lead while Dirk was hurt – if he’d been playing, they wouldn’t be in the lead.” Ugh. I hope they get popped in the jaw and dropped in the first round.

    Please let us get Brewer!

  • Espoon

    As long as there are no other injuries and Parker can come back healthy this should not be a real issue. Anderson started getting minutes because Neal was injured. Now the Spurs can work Anderson in more before the playoffs begin, because when Neal would have can back there would have been few min. for Anderson. I wouldn’t mind the Spurs signing a perimeter defender or a big, but I am not too concered about the PG spot. This might also help Manu become more of a penatrator and distributor instead of taking as many bad 3’s. Manu may also play less at the 3, where he would be gaurding bigger, stronger players. I wonder if the Spurs are looking at a player like D. Gadzuric or not; he would be another big body.

  • The Beat Counselor

    A little off-topic but in case you missed it, Matt Bonner apparently has a new video series (Tim makes a cameo) and is now going by “The Medium Fundamental.”

    @ Alix Babaie

    Here’s my assessment of Corey Brewer from another thread:

    Corey Brewer is definitely not a good shooter. If we are lucky enough to get him, it would seem that our offensive system would break down whenever he would get the ball since our offense is predicated on getting the ball to the open man and that person taking their shot. It would be reminiscent to Bogans last year. Clank.

    On the other hand, Brewer is GREAT in transition and his defense (and offense now that I think about it) is in the realm of Sefalosha, Ariza and Mbah a Moute. I doubt Chip could change the mechanics of his jumper this year, so offensively, every time he gets the ball in a half-court set, he would have to pass or already be slashing. And of course, somebody else on our squad would be double-teamed.

    That being said, he would be a throw back player in the traditional, defensive-minded Spurs mold that we haven’t seen in a while. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a lock-down wing defender to back up RJ? He’s what we all wanted before the season started.

  • Squiggs22

    I hope we land Corey Brewer, I think he would be an excellent addition, His length and athleticism will help our team defense dramatically when he’s on the court. Plus he’s a high flyer and his youthfull energy will be such a boost, Hes perfect for us. We dont have a player on the team like Brewer and his dynamics of being 2 or SF, 6’9, athletic, and a high flyer!

  • ty

    I just read that the Knicks cut Kelenna Azubuiki
    I like Brewer but Azubuiki wouldn’t be a bad back up plan if he can even get on the court. He is a much better shooter than Brewer

  • rob

    This is an interesting read for those who think Brewer would be just “OK” on a good team. I read it earlier. Saw Tim in Surrey had posted it in the “Tony Will Be On The Shelf” article.


    Who wouldn’t want the Derek Fisher destroyer on their team?

  • Alix Babaie

    I think it would be cool to have Brewer as a Spur and Bowen teaching him the art of defense. 😉

  • Espoon


    Azubuike would be nice but he has been injured all year and may not be even ready for the playoffs. But if he is ready to play now and will be close to 100% come playoff time then the Spur should definately give his agent a call.

  • S. W. E.

    We’ll be fine… done it before without one of the big 3. No worries.

  • SA_Ray

    Missing out on Parker for these upcoming match ups certainly sucks but I have a lot of faith in Hill. I know he isn’t Tony but I think he can lead the team to victory a for a few nights.
    Or at least keep the team close and then let Manu close the game.

    As for Brewer, the Spurs have an obvious needs for a backup SF and I think he would be perfect. But it’s tough competition for his services right now.

  • DorieStreet

    I saw a lot of Corey Brewer here in the southeast as he and his fellow Gators dominated the SEC two years straight & captured back-to-back NCAA titles. Just thee years into his career, I believe his size, ability, and demeanor are not only a fit for the Spurs down the stretch, but he could learn & expand his game with this franchise.

    I don’t know what FAs (besides the $$$) consider in choosing a new team; but if I were him, I’m going to South Texas so I can be a part of a perennial NBA basketball power (and joining my ex-collegiate teammates (Horford & Noah) in the playoffs.

  • Santos

    I think that we (Spurs) can give an opportunity to Carlos Arroyo..He is a veteran that knows the international and nba basketball…Our team always look for good international players (Ginobili,Splitter,Oberto) and I think that he is a good choice…He only needs that the coach (Popovich) gave him the trust of manage the ball and he makes good decisions…

  • TD = Best EVER

    Ughhh………Pop needs to remind Hill he isn’t a PG. He needs to just look for his own shot and set up the Offense. Drop the ball off in the post in go spot up…… Come on POP lets do some coaching……..

  • doggydogworld

    The best thing about this game is it should silence the trade Tony nonsense for a while.

    3rd Quarter scoring:
    Timmy – 0
    Manu – 0
    Hill – 0
    Blair – 7
    RJ – 4
    Neal – 4
    others – 0

  • Hobson13

    March 1st, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I see what you are saying, but who has talked about trading Parker (besides our very own Trade TP Just Not Now) since he signed his extension? A deal that was very good for both parties, I might add. At this point, we really need Parker back ASAP. Hill had 5 TO’s in just the first half. He was absolutely terrible.

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